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Students at This Top Evangelical College Are Trying to Stop Mike Pence From Delivering the Commencement Address

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Several Call to Invite Pete Buttigieg Over Mike Pence

Taylor University is one of America’s oldest, private, evangelical colleges. In 2017 the Indiana-based university was ranked first among 94 midwestern schools. Its motto, “Lux et Fides,” means, “Light and Faith.”

But it is Vice President Mike Pence‘s undying faith in President Donald Trump that has led the 2019 graduating class to demand the school rescind its invitation to Pence to deliver the commencement address.

“Inviting Vice President Mike Pence to Taylor University makes our alumni, faculty, staff and current students complicit in the Trump Administration’s policies, which we believe are not consistent with an ethic of love,” the students and thier supporters say via a Change.org petition, as Newsweek reports.

In just a few hours the petition has earned hundreds of signatures.

Many might think, given Pence was the governor of Indiana – where Taylor University is located – that the invitation might not cause concern.

They would be wrong.

Here’s a sampling from some of those who signed the petition, explaining why:

“I’m a husband of a Taylor alum and suggest that if Taylor is looking for a Hossier Christian politician for the commencement they might consider inviting Pete Buttigieg.”

“Shame on you. He’s not a Christian, and any university that invites him to speak has no institutional commitment to fact or Truth.”

“If Mike Pence thinks that RFRA was a good “christian” direction for the state and nation, then he is missing the point of Christianity. Now he is trying to do it nationally. He is the wrong person to deliver your commencement speech. Perhaps Pete Buttigieg would have a more appropriate message for your graduates.”

“There are many marginalized students and staff who live, work, and study in a gray area. The University offers kind words of support to these populations, but then engages in actions that place students on the fringe of Taylor’s community. Inviting Pence is one of those actions. Pence’s Values (political or personal) are not congruent with that of Taylor or Christianity. Pence’s values align with the administration (Looking at you president haines.) So out of touch with the needs of your students – ALL your students. POC, LGBTQ+ (especially Transgender students), Women, Immigrants – they are apart of the Taylor community too! Pence’s presence and Taylor’s support of Pence enforces the idea that these communities are the outcast.”

“The fact that Taylor would invite Pence as a speaker honestly kills me a little bit. I can’t imagine what it must feel like for lgbt students to have to see this man’s harmful bullshit be honored on the Taylor stage. Really disgusting stuff, Taylor. Really ashamed to be an alum right now.”

“Class of ’95. This link is embarrassing in every possible way. Forget any future support from me if this is the direction Taylor wants to go.”

“As an alumna of Taylor University, I’ve never been so disappointed in my college’s behavior. Taylor claims to be dedicated to love and truth. Mike Pence is a man who has worked to sew seeds of division and hatred in this country and has continued to support an administration that openly and blatantly lies about matters large and small, every single day.”

“Mike Pence has supported and advocated for harmful, deceptive policies that are in direct contradiction to the Bible’s teachings and Taylor’s heritage.”

 

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‘See You in Hell’: Gay Man Responds to ‘Cowardly’ Homophobe Who Warned He ‘Won’t Go to Heaven’ if He Marries

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Callum Hodge’s family has lived in a small village south of Bristol, England for nearly a century, so naturally he wanted to marry his fiancé, Ashley Jenkins, at his ancestral home. The couple married in late August but as The Daily Mail reveals, month earlier his family was sent a “poison pen” letter – by an anonymous coward – telling him and his family he “won’t go to heaven” if he marries a man.

Months before the wedding reception, Callum’s mother was the one who unfortunately opened the letter.

“Callum should be ashamed of himself for putting his grandparents through this. He won’t go to heaven,” the letter read.

“You need to lead him down a new path in life. The wedding should take place far, far away from the village. This is the consensus of the village,” the writer claimed.

The couple ignored the unsolicited, hateful “advice,” as this photo from Ashley’s Facebook page shows:

The family decided to Callum and Ashley by publishing a response in the local newsletter, believing the “cowardly” letter writer was likely one of the village’s 232 residents.

His father “described the letter as an ‘evil, homophobic attack’ which he suspects was written by a ‘bigoted individual’ who the family knows.”

“If we find out who it was, I want them named and shamed,” his mother adds.

Callum posted his own response to Facebook, saying, in part, “I’m not the sort of person that lets everyone know that I am gay, because of people like you I spent so many years in denial and lost and still struggle to open up, because of people like you so many people commit suicide all over the world because they can’t face admitting who they are and that’s because of bigoted people like you!”

“Well,” he concluded, “here’s a 🖕up to you and I guess I’ll see you in hell.”

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Transgender Teen Student Who Sued School Board Gets Major Federal Court Win – Years After He Graduated

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Gavin Grimm became a household name overnight, it seemed. The transgender teenage high school boy – now 20 years old – sued the Gloucester County, Virginia School Board in 2015, when he was a junior. One of his first wins came the following year, and another after he had already graduated, although he later had a setback at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Friday afternoon, Grimm won another major victory. A federal court ruled the Gloucester County School Board acted in a discriminatory manner and was wrong to ban him from using the boys’ restrooms in his high school, and was wrong to not have changed his school records to indicate he is a boy, and will have to pay his attorneys’ fees.

“The court ruled the board’s policies violated Grimm’s rights under both the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,” WAVY reports.

Perhaps it was his comment to the press that he just wanted to be able to use the restroom like any other student, that struck a chord with many people across the country – just not with the Gloucester County School Board, who forced him to use a specially-devised “boys room” that had been converted from a janitor’s closet.

“The issue remains far from settled. A patchwork of differing policies governs the nation’s schools,” the AP reports Friday. And today’s “ruling will likely strengthen similar claims made by students in eastern Virginia. It could have a greater impact if the case goes to an appeals court that oversees Maryland, West Virginia and the Carolinas.”

In 2017 Grimm became the youngest person to make TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

 

RELATED STORIES:

Supreme Court Instructs Liberty Counsel to Refer to Transgender Teen Gavin Grimm as Male

Not ‘Threatening or Extraordinary’: Transgender Teen at Center of ‘Bathroom’ Debate Tells His Story

Trump Administration Officially Revokes Obama Guidance to Protect Civil Rights of Transgender Students

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